the art of igniting curiosity
The Domains of
Version 2019 –10 –08
What are the Clarion Domains of
Four domains of learning ensure a comprehensive and superior
progressive educational experience.
Academic Standards, Learning Frameworks and Assessment Frameworks ensure a solid
foundation for current and future learning.
Character of Learners
Mindsets, Skills and Values underpin the virtues we guide children to develop;
characteristics critical to becoming productive, responsible, and caring adults.
Approaches to Learning
Children not only need to acquire skills and knowledge at a high standard but must
know how and when to use them productively. We know that students who can apply
skills and knowledge have learned to a very powerful standard.
Culture of Learning
The Culture of Learning is the Clarion mind set, strategies and structure employed by
teachers to ensure that learning occurs in a special and joyful ecosystem; a way of
Why are they powerful?
The Clarion learning experience is powerful because it is child centered, challenging,
interesting, engaging and applied. We unlock and foster the students own inner
motivation to learn. We continually support children in becoming mature and joyful
independent learners. This school-wide ethos drives us to create a learning environment
which employs only instructional practices which are proven to be efficient, highly
effective and have positive impact in supporting a child’s development. Children are
seen as partners with their teachers in developing and guiding their growth. Critical to
this partnership is the meaningful personal relationships between child and teacher
underpinned by open and ongoing dialogue and reflection. Children are expected to
be active learners and “makers”. Teachers carry out detailed, but flexible planning
supported by a wide array of excellent resources, embedded in dynamic educational
experiences. Teachers learn from their students as they continually observe each child’s
development and tune the learning experience to best meet the needs of each child.
Standards ~ Learning & Assessment Frameworks
NY State Standards - Common Core
Clarion follows New York State P-12 Common Core Learning Standards (CCLS) for
Literacy, Math, Science, and Social Studies. The Standards are internationally-
benchmarked and evidence-based standards. These rigorous standards serve as a
consistent set of expectations for what students should learn and be able to do. They
ensure that every student is on track for college and career readiness. They are also
well aligned with learning objectives from educational systems world-wide; assurance
that if children move on from Clarion, they will be able to easily transition.
Literacy Framework – Fountas & Pinnell Literacy
Continuum/Calkins Read-Write Program
A comprehensive, sequential, researched based program of learning for high-impact
literacy instruction. Rigorous and articulated interventions support Fountas & Pinnell
Literacy™ through the use of leveled assessments.
An organic progression of learning for writing developed by the renowned Teachers
College Columbia Reading and Writing Project. Comprised of processes, sequences,
continuum, books, levels, lessons, methods, principles and strategies, the Calkins
Program supports children in writing clearly and skillfully and reading flexibly and
Math – Bridges Math
A research-based, fully articulated sequential development of mathematical concepts
and skills, with a strong focus of learning through student investigation, practice and
practical application to real world situations.
Science – Building Blocks of Science
A developmentally appropriate exploration of scientific concepts and knowledge
coupled with the learning of the scientific method; a strong focus is placed on
exploration through hands-on activity. Teachers are alert to individual interests and
frequently extend activity to incorporate those interests. Topics are often integrated
with the transdisciplinary Units of Exploration.
Social Studies - Transdisciplinary Units of Exploration / Bank
Street College of Education
Units of Exploration relating to year-long overarching social study themes are
experienced through project-based student inquiry. Supported by a wide array of
resources and drawing on various subject disciplines, children build understanding
through research, field trips, a wide array of hands-on, project-based activities, and
ongoing reflection and expression of learning. The Units of Exploration were developed
uniquely for Clarion in collaboration with the Bank Street College of Education.
Grade PreK - Family
Grade K1 - Transportation
Grade K2 - Water
Grade 1 - Community
Grade 2 - Dubai Now and Then
Grade 3 - Traveler's & Traders
Grade 4 / 5 – Egypt
Grade 6 – Immigration
Performing Arts Framework – The Kennedy Center ARTSEDGE
The ARTSEDGE framework provides Clarion with a world class approach and set of
standards for the arts: dance, music theater and visual arts. As well as being disciplines
which should be developed for their own value, these areas are critical to the Clarion
experience serving as an avenue for being creative, for learning and expressing
learning outside the arts.
Modern Foreign Languages – ACTFL (American Council of
Teachers of Foreign Languages)
Our second language program is based on the standards for the teaching of
languages developed by the ACTFL. The American Council on the Teaching of Foreign
Languages (ACTFL) is dedicated to the improvement and expansion of the teaching
and learning of all languages at all levels of instruction.
Program embedded assessments
Powerful assessment and record keeping strategies are embedded in each of the
academic programs and learning frameworks, ensuring teacher understanding of each
child’s growth and level of attainment. This ongoing assessment leads to selection of
the appropriate resources and instructional strategies for use with each child. In Bridges
Mathematics and Building Blocks Science, end of unit assessments helps to ensure that
children have achieved learning objectives. In literacy, assessments are designed to
monitor literacy growth through a seamless continuum of skills and concepts. During the
Units of Exploration, teachers maintain observational records and student project work
to understand a child’s growth.
A digital and paper collection which gathers important student work as created by
students throughout the year. The portfolios provide understanding of student
development as seen through the lens of actual student work. Teachers and students
partner to choose the student work and associated assessment documents for inclusion
in the portfolios. Periodically the student reviews the portfolio (independently and in
collaboration with teachers, parents and peers), to reflect upon their growth and
development and to consider and establish goals for future learning. The portfolio is an
important vehicle for celebrating the child’s growth.
Reflection and social learning are two of the most powerful factors which support
learning. Clarion students work with their teachers to record their learning journeys using
a wide variety of media and techniques. These “records” provide many opportunities
for students to reflect on their journeys with peers, teachers and parents. The reflection
upon experience and planning for future experience drives a deep level of
understanding and ownership of the learning experience. A powerful skill and mindset
the child takes with them through life.
Measurement of Academic Progress (Grades 2 onwards)
An external standardized test to objectively monitor individual student growth and
attainment - with benchmarking both locally and internationally – helping to provide
quality assurance of a school’s academic program as well as highlight areas of support
for individual children. The test is conducted three times per year in Math, Literacy and
Character of Learners
Mindsets ~ Skills ~ Values
The development of learning rigor and the current role played by schools are no longer
enough. For children to continually adapt and succeed in a dynamic world, they need
to be self-directed and life-long learners across all contexts. Clarion focuses on
developing these critical mindsets, skills and values.
The school day is filled with opportunities for students to develop the resilience and
perseverance to succeed and accomplish goals even in the face of adversity and
failure. Teachers design a safe environment and plan activity, so children can
experience failure and the subsequent success of persisting; trying it again, adjusting
strategies, experimenting and achieving.
Children are continually prompted to find-out, investigate, experiment, observe and try
things. This support and opportunity allow the child’s curiosity to flourish, to grow like a
plant when provided just the right amount of sun, water and nutrients. Often when
realizing a child’s keen interest in something the teacher follows up with supporting
activities, incorporating those interests into core learning.
Developmentally appropriate risk taking is critical to learning. Children are supported in
acting and thinking in ways where the outcome or the effect of their effort may not
immediately (or at times ever), achieve the desired result. Children are helped to
understand that such experiences provide powerful opportunities for learning and are a
necessary part of growth and development. Children are recognized and celebrated
for trying something even when immediate gain is not guaranteed.
Leading a caring, responsible, self-fulfilling and productive life requires that we take
care of our spirit, our mind and our body. Teachers frequently visit this topic as part of
daily classroom life and through topic study. Good nutrition, the proper amount of
exercise and recreation, healthy relationships, mental and physical relaxation,
intellectual stimulation and accessing health care in a timely fashion are critical
understandings to promote your child’s well-being.
Students are supported in the act of wondering and of posing evermore powerful
questions. In turn, they develop deep insight; the ability to evaluate information and
come to understandings and judgements and about a wide array of academic and
daily living situations. This learning allows them to become sophisticated, effective, and
principled “action takers”.
Clarion students become highly adept in all areas of communication through active
learning. Communication is best learned as students are expected to collaborate and
convey their thoughts, ideas and learnings. Our teachers recognize that students need
to be active communicators in all learning environments. Communication is seen not
only as the ability to speak, read, write and listen, but as a critical tool in reflecting on
learning and building greater meaning and understanding.
Children are guided in becoming ever more sophisticated at working socially to learn
and accomplish goals. The ability to collaborate with others and be productive is
essential even in trying circumstances. Through frequent opportunities to work together,
and by providing students with guidance in developing the skills and attitudes
necessary to productively collaborate, students become comfortable and confident
working with others. Students learn how to move their group beyond difficult situations
to ensure that the group achieves its goals.
Students are continually encouraged to develop their own ideas, to make things based
on their own thinking. They learn to understand that creation is an act which requires
them acting on their thinking by responding to their explorations, experiences, interests,
needs, information, reflections and learnings. Teachers recognize that becoming a
creative person is fostered by providing children with many opportunities to “create”;
an understanding which requires teachers to not only plan activity intentionally, but also
through open-ended activities that support and allow for spontaneous creation.
Teachers know that creation is not necessarily about making something new to the
world; it is more often about making something new to the individual. It is in the act of
creation that all knowledge, skills and dispositions come together and are given life. The
desire and act of creating moves the child to higher levels of understanding.
In the “Responsive Classroom” students spend a great deal of time reflecting upon their
own behavior and emotions, and those of others. They learn how to understand the
condition and the feelings of others and they use that information to help them relate
to, work with, and support each other.
Integrity is infused into the classroom culture through both explicit and implicit
instruction. In addition, Moral Education is delivered as part of Ministerial requirements.
Expressions of integrity are valued and recognized. Examples of integrity are reviewed
through both historical, current events and events in the lives of the children.
Children learn to appreciate and be thankful for what they have, and are exposed to
and reflect upon those who less fortunate. These values are developed in Units of
Exploration, fieldwork, daily class meetings, community service and many other daily
activities. Modeling by staff is critical to this learning.
Students taking responsibility for their behavior and their learning is critical to the
classroom being a safe and productive learning environment. Students become
responsible as a consequence of ongoing discussion in the class. Children are guided
to identify, analyze and agree on sets of expectations that all children must
demonstrate. Teachers watch, interact and give feedback to students individually, in
small groups and with the whole class to reflect on their “demonstrations” of
responsibility. Becoming responsible is a process developed over days and years and
through many opportunities to practice, get feedback, reflect and reengage.
Approaches to Learning
For powerful learning to occur, it needs to be applied – “learning by doing”. By
applying the design thinking process to challenging activities and projects, students
come to a deep understanding of what they are learning and how to use these
learnings to problem solve, create and communicate.
On a daily basis, we connect learning to the environment in which we live. Students
gain more meaning when they can learn in and through the real world in their
immediate surroundings. They better learn global concepts and principles when they
can personally experience examples of those concepts and principles at work in their
immediate environment: mathematics on the streets and in the grocery store; science
on the canals and the metro; design and art in buildings; community service at the
local fire station and in the hospital.
Inquiry / Exploratory / Experiential
We learn in a powerful, engaging and motivating manner. Students develop deep
understanding and ability to apply and share what they are learning. The learning is
active, built around wondering, questioning, finding-out, experimenting, analyzing,
constructing understanding, reflecting, sharing and applying knowledge. The teacher’s
role is to guide and inspire learning, not deliver it.
A cornerstone of all learning is students being engaged in their learning. Teachers
ensure that learning activities provide opportunities for students to move, touch, discuss,
experiment, independently think, question, share; to be actively engaged in their
Students are guided to create tangible expressions of their learning. Often, they
incorporate Design Based practices and at other times their creations are spontaneous
and impulsive. The critical factor is that children become comfortable in applying
acquired knowledge and skill using a wide range of strategies and media as they
become inspired to share, reflect upon and record their experiences, their feelings and
Methodically planning the creation of a product (art, app, writing, speech, sculpture,
musical composition, skit, speech, etc.), students learn the power of setting an
objective, creating a plan of action and following through with execution, and
feedback and review. The principles of design thinking are reflected at:
Students are continually supported in reflecting on all their experiences, their effort and
their acts of creation. They use this activity to deepen their learning, to appreciate their
learning and to guide them in their future learning. Little meaningful learning occurs
without meaningful reflection. Reflection occurs both through frequent whole class
meetings, small group meetings, one-to-one teacher-student and student-to-student
meetings and through independently thinking about and expressing thoughts in writing
and through a wide range of media and expressive forms.
Culture of Learning
The capacity to ensure that children develop through and between each of the
domains of learning requires a powerful ecosystem. We have built a comprehensive
and dynamic culture of learning; an environment where everyone is learning with and
from each other; children, parents, teachers and administrators. This ecosystem is
supported by having 2 qualified educators in each classroom.
Joy of learning
Powerful learning is filled with life, with sharing with others, with excitement and humor
and fun as well as hard work and disappointment. At school we learn as a “Community
of Learners”, helping and supporting one another to achieve and celebrate our
accomplishments during our learning journeys.
At Clarion, there is an understanding that we are co-learning with our students, and we
work alongside them as partners in the learning process. It takes a unique educator
who not only has a strong insight into child development, but is both experienced and
appreciative of this way of learning. Children, even very young children, are
recognized as fully functioning learners with well-formed ideas and interests.
Intellectual curiosity & engagement
Students are supported in wondering about their environment, themselves, their
classmates, and others. Teachers support and expect children to be active learners by
asking questions and by following their interests. Teachers support children by allowing
and encouraging their “wonder” to drive activity which helps them to better
understand themselves and their world.
A set of educational practices which places the child at the center of the learning
ecosystem. Teachers develop close personal relationships with each child through
focused observation, ongoing discussions and continual review of the child’s work. The
teacher guides the class in creating an emotionally supportive and motivating learning
environment which is relevant, challenging, engaging and tuned to the interests of the
children. Students develop into independent learners who take responsibility for and
have pride in their learning and their role as a productive member of the learning
community. The responsible and independent level of the children allows the teachers
the freedom to craft support which meets individual student needs.
School without walls
Curriculum related “out of school expeditions” and travel help the children develop
deeper understanding of the topics explored in school. The activity helps children to
regularly apply their knowledge and develop the Clarion Character of Learners. The
trips are exciting, interesting and motivating, and help children connect their learning
to the “real world”.
Good learning happens in a “just” environment. A “just” environment develops when
children take the moral principles they are developing and learn to consistently put
them into practice as they meet the challenges of working with each other on a daily
basis. The teacher guides this process through an ongoing cycle of the children
reflecting upon upcoming challenges, considering the response of the class to
challenges it has encountered and using the knowledge gained from those encounters
to build ever more sophisticated and effective ways of collaborating with each other in
mutually beneficial and fair ways.
Teachers hold advanced degrees and/or have extensive experience working in a
progressive educational environment and are experienced using the programs and
frameworks adopted by the school. In addition, each classroom has 2 qualified
teachers. Teachers demonstrate a passion for being continuous learners, learning
alongside their students.
At Clarion, teachers are recognized as the critical factor in creating and delivering a
powerful and effective learning environment. They are supported in understanding and
executing the Clarion approach to teaching & learning through the employment of
evidence based professional development models. These models emulate the
teaching delivered in the classroom; a dynamic and vibrant approach to learning.